But despite the denial, survivors still recall the memory of the grin evening when soldiers set homes on fire and shot residents as they tried to flee the area.
One recalled seeing a soldier throw a child back into the flames as the whole village burned to the ground. The village, Baga, found itself in the middle of the fight between Nigerian soldiers and insurgents.
The soldiers, upset about the killing of one of their own, decimated the village. Heavy civilian casualties are routine for the African nation’s military when it comes to the fight against Boko Haram. Dozens in poor neighborhoods have died since 2010.
But Nigeria’s politicians largely refuse to comment on the situation. But the massacre in Baga, Nigeria this month appears to be exceptionally bad. And the mass killing has upset residents more than usual. While previous massacres in retaliation for soldiers’ deaths have gone largely unnoticed by the world, this one was enough.
There have been calls for an investigation into the massacre by Nigeria’s national assembly. The government has also come under harsh criticism at home and abroad. The military claims to be starting its own inquiry into the matter. Kole Shettima, chairman of the Center for Democracy and Development in the capital, Abuja, added:
“This is coming at a time when we have had similar situations [elsewhere]. People are tired of the excuses the military is giving, and that’s why they are demanding an investigation. This time it’s different. There is a crisis of legitimacy in the military.”
But accountability is rare in Nigeria, and corruption in the African nation is nothing new. The likelihood of the Baga massacre in Nigeria being swept aside is sadly high. Shettima, however, cautioned that the massacres will do nothing to stop Boko Haram. Rather, “When you burn down shops and massacre civilians, you are pushing them to join the camp of Boko Haram.
It is not clear what will happen next in Nigeria after the massacre outcry.
[Image via ShutterStock]